June 1, 2008
This is one of my favorite stories of encounter with Jesus. Here's this woman, completely excluded because of her condition: forbidden to enter town, to touch anyone else, to go to worship, to go to the market, to go home, to be with her family. According to the laws of the Torah, she's a complete untouchable: a dalit sentenced to live with other dalits. Anonymous she arrives daring to touch Jesus, to contaminate him with her unclean-ness, in hopes of finding health, wholeness, peace and some sort of semblance of life. Jesus proclaims that she's not only touchable, but should be noticed and recognized not as a dalit but as a daughter. What a power encounter. His heals her. He then uses it to heal the entire culture and town-system, challenging them to recognize the humanity in each other, to see each other as God first sees them. Makes me wonder who are the dalits that I overlook, neglect or don't even notice? Who are the ones that god is calling us to encounter not in power but in transforming love and mercy? What would our national foreign policy look like if we based it on that notion? How would we respond to the poor, downtrodden and excludedin our country and throughout the nations?